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Your Weekly Planning Updates

Michigan DOT Unveils State Freight Plan

  • The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has released its draft Michigan Freight Plan, a supplement to the 2040 MI Transportation Plan. The Michigan Freight Plan provides a comprehensive overview of the state’s freight transportation system, including existing assets, system performance and investments needed to “ensure long-term success,” MDOT officials said in a press release. The plan also provides a framework for freight system improvements and priorities.

Delaware Transportation Plan Includes $288 Million for Transit, $1.3 Billion for Roads

  • Delawareans have two weeks left to comment on the state’s multibillion-dollar transportation plan that will govern infrastructure spending for the next three years. It includes $219 million for bridge maintenance, $281 million for the U.S. 301 tollway and its debt, and dozens of smaller transit and road projects that form the backbone of the state’s transportation network.

Virginia Panel Calls for New Transit Funding

  • Virginia’s mass transit operators face a sharp drop in state support after next fiscal year and the state needs to step in to fill the gap, a blue ribbon panel says. A 10-year-old state program to set aside $110 million a year for transit operations, including Hampton Roads Transit, begins phasing out in fiscal year 2019, which will cut roughly in half the number of vehicles that transit firms can replace or rehab, the Transit Capital Project Revenue Advisory Board reported this week.

PLANNING

Uber Movement’s Traffic Data Now Available to Public

  • Back in January, Uber announced that it’s giving urban planners access to a website with traffic data of their cities. Now that website is out of beta, and anybody can access it anytime. The Uber Movement website can show you how long it takes to get from one part of a city to another based on the day of the week and the time of day. People like you and me can consult it for realistic travel times, since its data came from actual Uber trips. However, its real purpose is to help city officials and planners figure out how to improve their transit systems.

Proposed Plan Preps Central City Portland, Oregon for Major Growth

  • Although the central city covers just over 3 percent of Portland, the City Council has decided it should accommodate 30 percent of all growth between now and 2035 – including 38,000 more households and 51,000 additional jobs. To help make that happen, city planners have prepared Central City 2035, a plan to be considered by the council on Sept. 7. Among other things, it adjusts the maximum allowable height of residential and office buildings in various parts of the 11 districts concentrated on both sides of the Willamette River. It is also designed to preserve historic districts and create more open spaces to improve livability.

Why Regional Transportation Planning is Necessary for New York’s Future

  • Transportation has been a hot topic this summer, especially for those who use New York’s transportation system on a daily basis. It hasn’t been easy. There have been delays and cancellations due to planned repair work at Penn Station, the busiest transit hub in the Western Hemisphere; heightened congestion on our roadways; and ongoing maintenance and equipment issues in our subways. In order to ease the many strains already facing our transportation system, regional planning is needed. How do we support and improve the shared transportation network in New York City, the lower Hudson Valley and Long Island? It’s achieved through preparation, collaboration and planning – enough planning to take us to 2045, to be exact.

MPOs

North Carolina MPOs Work on Research That Will Change Upstate Roads

  • Long-range transportation planners are working long hours in the Upstate this week, as committees from both the Greenville Pickens Area Transportation Study (GPATS) and the Anderson Area Transportation Study (ANATS) move closer to completing research projects that will impact Upstate roads for decades. Safety was the No. 1 concern raised by residents in surveys and meetings as part of the Horizon 2040 process, said traffic engineer and consultant Alison Fluitt.

NYMTC Brown Bag Discussion & Webinar: Adapting to App-Based Ride Services – September 13 – New York City

  • Bruce Schaller, Principal of Schaller Consulting, will discuss how the expansion of app-based ride services such as Uber and Lyft (also known as Transportation Network Companies or TNCs) are impacting New York’s transportation system. Every day, the increase of additional TNC vehicles are visible, but little is known about their true effect on traffic congestion, public transportation utilization and traditional car and taxi services.

ALTERNATE TRANSPORTATION

Cyclists Are Generating Ride Data, But What to Do With It?

  • Riders are generating data on Strava and COBI or riding with smart connected devices like See.Sense and Garmin, but data is collected in many different ways and stored in various locations. One of the questions posed at the Smarter Cycling Conference, sponsored by the European Cyclists Federation (ECF) and held Tuesday before Eurobike opened, was to figure out if there is a way to harmonize this ride data and make it available to all.

RAIL

STB Rejects Great Lakes Basin Rail Line

  • The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has rejected a proposal to build a 261-mile railroad that would have cut through the Rockford area as it moved through Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. In a decision Wednesday, the board said that Great Lakes Basin Transportation’s financial information was “fundamentally flawed,” making it impossible for the board to determine whether the proposal meets necessary criteria. Construction projects are not required to be fully funded in the early states of an application. However, financial fitness of the company behind a proposal is part of the application process, the board says in its decision.

TRANSIT

New York City Regional Planners Push for Added Transit Options

  • Commuters and travelers who cross the Hudson River by transit into New York City hope a just-finished track upgrade at Penn Station will improve recent delays, derailments and other malfunctions. But transportation officials and politicians know the region needs long-term solutions for an aging and inadequate transit system. The Regional Plan Association, a research and advocacy group, is calling for faster action on several previously floated proposals.

Key West Offers Free Buses to Reduce Car Traffic, Parking

  • Florida’s southernmost city is offering a free bus service to help residents and visitors get around without using their cars. The Duval Loop debuted Thursday and covers Key West’s downtown and Historic Seaport. Just in time for the Labor Day holiday weekend, the hop-on, hop-off service features colorful buses with a route that includes 16 stops, so riders can get on and off near Key West attractions, hotels, museums, boutiques and eateries.

ROADWAYS

Changing Trail Design Could Jeopardize Entire I-66 Widening Project in Virginia

  • With only a few months before the kickoff of major construction to widen Interstate 66 outside the Capital Beltway, a push to change the design of the project’s multiuse trail could jeopardize the entire $2.3 billion project, Virginia’s transportation chief said. Bike advocates, trail aficionados and some state lawmakers who are worried that portions of the planned pedestrian and bike trail are too close to traffic lanes have called on the state Department of Transportation to move the path from the highway side to the residential side of a sound wall that is part of the project. But the change would violate a requirement in the project’s contract to locate the trail on the highway side in areas adjacent to homes, a deal state officials say was reached after years of negotiations and compromises to reduce the impact on homeowners.

INTERNATIONAL

Montreal Transit Agency Releases Strategic Organizational Plan

  • The Societe de transport de Montreal (STM) board has unveiled its 2025 strategic organizational plan, which is aimed at improving overall operations and customer service. The plan’s four main goals are improving the customer experience, adapting the agency to evolving governance, bringing finances under control and attracting new talent. STM was required by law to update its last strategic plan for 2020, which was approved in 2012, agency officials said in a press release. The latest plan calls for an “unprecedented improvement” in STM’s subway service, as well as investments to improve reliability and quality of service, according to the agency.

OTHER

White House Wants to Help States, Cities Offload Infrastructure

  • U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration told state and local officials on Wednesday that it will use its infrastructure plan to create incentives for the private sector to finance or take over public entities like bridges, tunnels and highways. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told about 150 transportation officials at the White House the administration wants the private sector to play a bigger role in managing and financing public infrastructure.

Court Case in Maryland Could Threaten P3s Nationwide

  • Maryland has been trying for decades to build the Purple Line, a light rail line serving parts of suburban Washington, D.C. Now a judge’s ruling on the project – which could potentially doom it altogether – might undermine public-private partnerships nationwide, a construction industry group warns. The American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) recently weighed in on the ongoing court case over the Purple Line.